Above: Imagery from the Poppykalas x Layered collaboration.
Did you follow the last Copenhagen Fashion Week on social media? It did look like a lot of FUN (they do know how to party down there), but what caught our eye more than anything was the presence of the most beautiful blooms. Sure, the fashion was fun and the people super-stylish, but the flowers were… something else.
Behind the dazzling flower arrangements decorating tables at press dinners or being part of an installation was of course Poppykalas – a Copenhagen-based studio run by the celebrated Danish floral artist Thilde Maria Haukohl Kristensen. Her aesthetics are unmistakable, with clashes of colors and textures like nothing you’ve seen before.
“I’m very colorful, and love to work with a multisensory expression that combines touch and smell”, Thilde explains to us. “Flowers are my way of telling a story, setting the scene, creating emotion – speaking a language beyond spoken or written words. With form, color, smell and touch, I challenge the stage and the interaction in its very own distinctive way and extravagant style. Because flowers are such an emotional medium, I would love to make people feel something.”
What we find especially fascinating and appealing is the artist’s work with dried flowers, which has no doubt fueled one of the biggest (and most sustainable) interior trends of the moment. And what could be better than flowers that last eternally?
“Because flowers are such an emotional medium, I would love to make people feel something.”
“I’ve been working with dried flowers since the beginning of Poppykalas. I’m very grateful for my clients who encourage and support sustainable concepts, creating bigger installations with dried flowers. I think for many people, dried flowers are nostalgically reminding them of their childhood, or their grandparents. You can have a small sculptural sky hanging in your living room, creating a dreamy and organic feeling; bringing you closer to nature. I love that.”
The commissions and collabs seem to have been lining up lately: a conscious collection of rugs called “Secret Garden” made together with Swedish design brand Layered being top of mind, as well as a soon-to-launch collection of posters named “Flowers for Your Lungs”, featuring Poppykalas’ signature floral arrangements, photographed in different natural elements as a reminder for us to breathe deeply.
What these projects have in common are the mindful methods under which they’ve been created. “Sustainability means everything,” says Thilde, “which is why the posters, for example, are sustainably printed. I would never make a new Poppykalas item that wasn’t sustainable – that wouldn’t be fair. Both the rugs and the wallpaper [a collab with Tigron and Floyd] are sustainable, and now the print collection is too, as I work with 100% biodegradable materials. There are so many opportunities to work with mother nature.”
This, she explains, is also why she doesn’t have a flower shop – “I will not consume, or make other people consume, all these flowers that’s being transported from the other side of the world” – and the reason she travels by Tesla when not biking around town in Copenhagen.
Three out of six “Flowers for Your Lungs” posters.
Discovering her passion for flowers early on much thanks to her grandmother, Laura Krogsgaard, Thilde’s career still took a few twists and turns before finally steering onto the current path. Holding a BA in theatre and a master in modern culture and cultural communications, she worked with communication and public relations in performing arts for more than 15 years, specializing in theatre and contemporary dance. Only after becoming a mother for the second time did she finally decide to venture into the world of flowers, opening up the Poppykalas studio in 2017.
“I had two maternity leaves with my two girls, and I really missed working with my hands and being creative, and to have more time and flexibility with my family. Then I returned to the flowers, where it all started. While my educational background might seem far from the floral world, I draw on my insight into modern culture and the performing arts when composing my floral arrangements.”
Thilde tells us that, as a child, she spent a lot of time at her grandmother’s farm, Krogsgaard, in Thy, where she was first introduced to flowers as an artform. Her grandmother used to paint huge flower bouquets with a special layering technique that created a sort of 3D effect, and always made flower decorations in big porcelain bowls around the house.
“I will not consume, or make other people consume, all these flowers that’s being transported from the other side of the world.”
“She painted flowers everywhere: on the walls, vases, pillows – you name it. She even transformed a wall in the kitchen into one big collage of pictures of roses. One part of her living room was almost like a jungle to me, and a part of the farm was turned into a gallery, where all the German tourists and locals bought her floral paintings.”
“Her favorite flower and motif was the red poppy, which the fields around her farm was filled with. When the poppies were dancing in the wind, she named them ‘dancing gowns’, and I always loved that. Over time the poppy became one of my favorite flowers too, and it’s such a lively image of my grandmother, so there was no doubt that the name of my company should include ‘poppy’.”
‘Kalas’, explains Thilde, is one of her favorite Swedish words, meaning celebration or party – occasions that often involve flowers. And you could probably call it a big celebration when she put on the exhibition, Blomsterøjne, earlier this year, displaying her flower arrangements together with work by her grandmother.
“I like to move away from bouquets and flowers in a vase, letting them express themselves spatially and multisensory. Together with my grandmother’s paintings, I created floral installations that hung from the ceiling, and covered the floors with moss and colored sand. As my grandmother taught me: there are no rules.”
The new Poppykalas poster collection will be available on poppykalas.dk and in select stores from November 1st. And, if you want some serious flower inspiration, we suggest you follow @Poppykapas on Instagram pronto.
Floral installation from the Poppykalas exhibition, Blomsterøjne.
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